|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th & 15th April 1927, transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Chair and The Vice-Chair
The end of the municipal year brings with it, automatically, the retirement of the chairman of the Rushden Urban Council, Mr. Charles Claridge, J.P., and normally there will follow the promotion to the chair of the vice-chairmen, Mr. J. Hornsby, there remaining the necessity of the appointment of a new vice-chairman.
During his year of office Mr. Claridge has diligently and with the utmost efficiency carried out the duties of office as civic head of Rushden. He had not held the office before, but there is no doubt that his return to the chair at some future time would receive the cordial support of all parties, and, in fact, of every single member of the Council. No one could have conducted the business with greater regard for the expression of all views and have got through the work in shorter time. Though the enlarged Council was expected to mean longer discussions, with the creeping in of digressions and irrelevancies, that tendency has been outgrown, and the meetings of the full Council in the last twelve months have been no longer on the average than were the meetings of the old council (of twelve members). During Mr. Claridge’s leadership of the Council he gave the fullest opportunity for discussion, but he knew exactly when to apply the closure to prevent repetition of speeches or the speaking more times than was fair by any one member. Yet effective discussion was never burked. But to conduct business at a Council meeting is only one of the many duties devolving upon the chairman of the Council, and Mr. Claridge was equally effective in the other demands made upon him, no matter what the sacrifice meant to home and business. In deputation he has taken his place and used his influence and ability for the benefit of the town on several occasions, but he never sought to get on deputations in fact, he has always offered to give place to any other member who wished to go instead. The progress of the past year is due in no small degree to the ability and enthusiasm of Mr. Claridge. In social and religious life Mr. Claridge has met the numerous calls for his services readily and willingly. A busy man he yet found time to acquaint himself withthe many sided activities in the busy town of Rushden. Whether the function was a local effort for world-peace or for the relief of suffering humanity several national bodies having local branches Mr. Claridge, from the chair, put the claims as an effective advocate. In a judicial capacity Mr. Claridge may not have had to pass sentence as an individual Magistrate on delinquents, but he has taken his turn (by rota) at the Wellingborough Bench of Magistrates regularly and almost without exception when he was appointed to go. From all points above mentioned the community of Rushden should say, very heartily. Thank you!
Mr. J. Hornsby, who will, it is expected, be “enthroned” as chairman for the ensuing twelve months, has served his term of apprenticeship in the vice-chair, and he will undoubtedly have the backing of all the members of the Council. It will be his first term as “Mayor” of Rushden.
The new vice-chairman, it is expected, will be Mr. Fred Corby, each political party nominating in turn. Mr. Corby will take on that office for the first time. He has had a good training in managing the town’s municipal affairs, not only from his six years of office as a member of the Urban Council but as a Council School Manager and member of the Education Sub-Committee (and the old School Board) on which he has served for over 30 years. Mr. Corby has been chairman of the Health and Sanitary Committee in the past twelve months and has served on all the other committees previously. Also, he has to his credit the longest period of service on the Council and in the Liberal Party without being chairman of the Council. His appointment to the vice-chair will be welcomed by the Council members generally. Mr. Corby’s contributions to discussions have always been helpful and constructive. He was one of the prime movers in the Council’s efforts of a year or so ago to open out a broad highway from the station along Rectory-road to Newton-road. As an administrator Mr. Corby has always taken the long view, and he ever aims at the town getting maximum value for the money spent. He is to the forefront as a successful business man. In 1890 by expanding the firm of curriers, now known as Messrs. Fred Corby, Ltd., beginning in premises in Duck-street opposite Mr. A. Sander’s houseand facing the Lightstrung Company, Duck-street entrance. Three years later he has the John-street factory (recently extended). He employs a large number of workers from Rushden and the district. Mr. Corby is the secretary of the Park-road Baptist Church, and his work and attendance for that place of worship have done not a little in shaping its life for the benefit of the town.
15th April 1927
Another County Councillor Asked for Compensation for Beaconsfield Terrace
Wednesday, present Messrs. C. Claridge, J. P. (chairman), J. Hornsby (vice-chairman), T. F. B. Newberry, J. Roe, A. Allebone, W. C. Tarry, D. G. Greenfield, M.D., F. Knight J. P., F. Corby, T. Swindall, C. W. Horrell C. A., L. Perkins, M. B. E., J. Spencer J. P., G. W. Coles, J. P., W. Bazeley J. P., and C. Bates with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper).
The remarks of the Council are given below.
On the subject of the bandstand in Spencer Park, Mr. Coles said that satisfactory arrangements had been made for Rushden bands, with three vacant dates for out-of-town bands. This arrangement had given satisfaction to the Rushden bandsmen.
Mr. Knight asked what kind of seats was proposed to be put in Jubilee Park by the Co-operative Society.
Mr. Coles said it was the Co-operative Society’s employees who had promised to present four seats. He understood that they would cost about 50s each.
The Surveyor said he had given the committee an estimate of 50s or 55s for seats similar to those on the Green.
Mr. Knight said that the committee appeared to be going to equip Jubilee Park far more elaborately than Spencer Park.
Presenting the Finance Committee report, Mr. Horrell said that the Council had reason to be satisfied with the small proportion of irrecoverable arrears, of which, he said, 90 per cent were legitimate cases.
Mr. Perkins said there had been no meeting of the Housing Committee, but tenders had been received for the construction of the road on the Irchester-road estate. He moved that that of Messrs. Beesley &Co., of Leicester, at £2,300, be accepted.
This was carried.
It was stated that the road would make it possible to find room for 52 houses, but that no more could be started on until the road was made.
The Council fixed a general district rate of 4s in the £ (equal to £9,292 9s 2d), and a poor rate of 4s 8d in the £ (equal to £11,468 15s), for the ensuing half-year.
This represents an increase of 1s in the poor rate, the district rate being unchanged.
Mr. Horrell, referring to the Auditor’s report, said that to have kept a balance of over £1,000, as the Auditor had mentioned, would mean levying a 6d rate. They all wanted to keep the rates as low as possible, but they could not keep them too low and have a balance at the bank.
Mr. Spencer: I am not in favour of having a big balance at the bank (laughter) on the district account. (Renewed laughter and applause.)
On the question of the new motor-lorry, Mr. Roe asked if any inquiries had been made as to whether a subsidy was available for the vehicle.
Mr. Madin said he had not yet received an answer to his inquiries.
The Chairman said that no doubt further inquiries would be made.
Mr. Roe: I think there is a Government subsidy of £60 per year.
The Clerk read a report from the District Valuer, dated April 7th, on the compensation to be paid for the land taken in Beaconsfield-terrace for the purpose of opening a road from the station to Rectory-road. The report stated that in the Valuer’s opinion a fair compensation for the land, 483 square yards, would be £650, the Council to pay all legal expenses.
In reply to Mr. Bazeley, the Clerk said that the sum would represent the total liability of the Council as far as Mrs. Warner was concerned.
Mr. Knight asked if the sum was not more than it might have been had they not engaged the District Valuer.
The chairman said that both parties had bound themselves in advance to accept the report of the Valuer.
A Third County Councillor
Mr. Coles, having given notice at the previous meeting, moved that the Council apply to the County Council for increased representation for Rushden on the County Council. The last time they hoped it would be received favourably and that something definite would be done. As they knew, nothing had been done, and in consequence they had to keep on sending to the County Council until they got what he considered to be their just right. Mr. Coles said that for the county there were 54 Councillors; the total number of electors was 97,078; the total population was 211,509; and the total assessable value was £1,092,566. Thus for the County Councillor, on an average, there were 1,798 electors or 3,917 persons, and the assessable value was £20,233. For the rural districts there were 33 Councillors, the number of electors was 49,008, the population was 112,105. Thus in the rural district there were 1,485 electors or 3,307 persons for each Councillor, and the assessable value for each Councillor was £21,440. In the urban districts, of which Rushden formed one, there were 21 Councillors, the number of electors was 48,070, and the population was 99,404, and the assessable value £385,030. This meant that there was one County Councillor for every 2,280 voters or 4,733 persons, and the assessable value was £18,335. But in Rushden, where they had two County Councillors the number of electors was 6,926, the population was 13,505, and the assessable value was £57,079. Thus there were 3,463 electors or 6,752 persons for each Councillor, and the assessable value per Councillor was £28,539. Mr. Coles added that the town was divided into two wards for County Council purposes and three for Urban Council elections, which was confusing. It would be more convenient and economical to have three for both purposes, and the electors’ representation would be more equitable. He believed that the prospects of getting a third County Councillor were better now than they ever were before.
Mr. Spencer seconded, and said he had never been struck with the way in which the County Council had dealt with Rushden. It had been an uphill fight to get things necessary for the wellbeing of the town. They had a struggle to obtain a second representative, and the third was long overdue. He thought the Council should send a deputation to meet the whole County Council.
The motion was carried.
at Wellingborough wrote asking the Council to sanction the suspension, as in former years at the request of the Rushden postmen, of the 3 p.m. delivery and the 4.15 collection in Rushden on Easter Tuesday.
The request was granted.
The property owners and residents of Alfred-street petitioned the Council to use their powers either to stop buses going along the street or to provide a more suitable stopping-place, such as College-street. The present stopping-place was regarded by the petitioners as a nuisance to themselves and a danger to residents who were ill, especially when the vehicles stood for five minutes at a time with the engine running. As summer approached the dust nuisance would render it impossible to have windows open. The petition was signed by over 30 signatories.
Mr. Spencer moved that the petition be referred to the Highways Committee.
The Chairman said that the Police Inspector had a suggestion to make on the subject.
Mr. Newberry: Can we direct these buses in any way we like without a byelaw.
The Clerk: I think so. They cannot run at all without licences from us, and we can make conditions which are reasonable. We can say where they shall stop and run.
Mr. Newberry: Cannot one drive through High-street providing he does not cause an obstruction.
The Clerk: They would be liable to prosecution if they broke the conditions of the licence, but they can appeal to the Ministry of Transport if they think the conditions are unreasonable.
Mr. Perkins suggested that the matter be left to the chairman to confer with the Police Inspector.
Mr. Allebone said he did not think the buses ought to stop in College-street. The turn into Alfred-street was dangerous.
Mr. Knight said the turn into Church-street was also very dangerous, being blind both ways.
Mr. Corby said there was a reasonable complaint in the petition, as he would feel if he lived where Mr. Clipson did. The street was very narrow indeed. He did not think the Church-street end was suitable for a stopping-place. The other end would be far better. The turn out of Church-street could not be helped. The town needed a public square where buses could start. It would have to come someday. Meantime, he did not see why people should be penalised because of the bus service, which, of course, was a boon to the people.
Mr. Perkins’s motion was carried.
The Council authorised the issue of 90 licences for buses, all of which had been examined by Mr. D. Nicholson.
Mr. Horrell said as that was the last meeting of the Council at which Mr. Claridge would preside he should like to have the honour of proposing the hearty and sincere thanks of the Council for the way in which he had conducted the business of the Council. They had predicted that Mr. Claridge would make an ideal chairman of the Council. The members of the Council were very grateful to Mr. Claridge, and he was sure the town would agree. Mr. Claridge had conducted the business in a manner that had given satisfaction to everyone, and he might look back himself with pleasure and satisfaction, knowing that he had rendered the town good service. (Applause.)
Mr. Spencer seconded, and said Mr. Claridge had carried out his duties in splendid manner. Always he had been an ideal chairman. He had given reasonable latitude in discussion, but at the same time he had not wasted time. He had always kept a good temper. (Laughter.) Sometimes perhaps some of them had been a bit warm, but Mr. Claridge had borne with them very patiently.
Mr. Corby supported, and associated himself with the remarks made by the proposer and seconder.
Mr. Hornsby said he could endorse all that had been said respecting Mr. Claridge, of whom it had been said that he was an ideal chairman. Personally, as vice-chairman he had very little to do. Mr. Claridge had attended every meeting and conducted them in a business-like manner. He would like to associate himself with all the remarks made.
The vote was carried unanimously and with acclamation.
Mr. Claridge, in response, said he had had no idea that that was going to take place at that meeting and he was quite unprepared. It was good of them to offer him their thanks. Personally, he felt that he owed them his own thanks, because they had given him no trouble. Everything seemed to have gone off very well. Anything he had done he had been most happy to do, as he would always be if he could serve the town. There had been the innovation of appointing the chairman a member of all the committees, which, while it took up the chairman’s time, meant that he was the better acquainted with the work of the committees. He hoped the practice would be kept up. He much appreciated their thanks, and assured them that the year had been pleasant for him. He had got through better than he had anticipated. He proposed thanks to Mr. Hornsby for his service as vice-chairman. Though he had not had to call on Mr. Hornsby to take the chair, he had found him very useful and helpful in many ways. He was sure the Council would wish also to thank Mr. Hornsby.
Mr. Swindall, seconded, said that Mr. Hornsby had been a very energetic chairman of the Sanitary Committee and had done the duty very well indeed, as the other members would agree. That had been a good training for what Mr. Swindall hoped would be the crowning honour of Mr. Hornsby’s election to the chair. The work of the chairman of that Council increased with the growing work taken on by the Council.
The vote was carried, and Mr. Hornsby suitably replied.